Four years ago, I was sitting at home with a baby and a two-year old, watching the local weather report on TV. The weather man was reporting live from the opening of the Markham Fair. I had never heard of it but it looked fun, so we packed up the kiddies and went that weekend. That was the start of my favourite annual event. Yes, the Markham Fair has surpassed all other family activities as my absolute favourite answer for what to do in Toronto with kids. It’s happening this year from October 3-6, 2013.
Close to Town
The Markham Fair is everything a great county fair should be with giant pumpkin contests, prizewinning show-chickens and a midway. This one is even better because you don’t have to drive two hours into the countryside to get to it. It is a pleasant twenty minutes up the 404, practically in the city itself.
And the Winner Is
At the heart of the fair is the competitions. One of the oldest fairs in Canada, the Markham Fair has 3,000 exhibitors who submit approximately 12,000 items to be judged. That is a lot of pie tasting. The whole family will love wandering through the different buildings to see the giant vegetables, best cows, prizewinning ears of corn and of course, the chickens. Seriously, the chickens are the best- you will be amazed at how many kinds there are.
When you are done that, treat yourself and the kids to some delicious fair fare. I adore the warm Tiny Tom Donuts with cinnamon. If you are into Barbeque with a capital B, you’ll find fantastic ribs and pulled pork at Horn Dawgs Smokin BBQ. The roasted corn and yams at Ontario Corn Roasters are really yummy too. The kids will beg for fluffy cotton candy and funnel cakes. It’s fair day, no time to worry about kale intake.
What to do in Toronto
If it is noon, be sure to check the skies for the SkyHawks, the Canadian Forces Parachute Team as they drop into the Fair from above with their signature Canadian Flag parachutes. Next, head over to the Midway where there are rides and games for all ages, then wander through the farm equipment that the kids can sit in. Don’t forget to visit the Markham Fire Fighters for some obstacle course fun. That has been a beloved stop for my boys each year. Little kids will love the Old MacDonald’s Barn where they can meet young farmers and see the baby animals they are raising. There’s a lot of fun to be had when you add Markham Fair to your list of what to do in Toronto.
Plan Your Events Ahead of Time
Throughout the day, there is a vast array of events you and the kids can check out. There’s the Superdogs show, Monster Truck Madness, a truck and tractor pull, demolition derby, Wild Animal Encounter, horse shows, sheep shearing and the list goes on. I really recommend you go to the events calendar on their website here to plan in advance what your family would like to see so you can make the most out of your visit.
Add the Markham Fair to your list of what to do in Toronto this year. I promise, it will become an annual event for you too.
The Markham Fair grounds are located on the North East corner of McCowan Road and Elgin Mills Road. (10801 McCowan Road)